Building a routine is a key component of many recovery programs, and establishing structure is considered an important pillar in the recovery process. For some of us at the beginning stages of our recovery, we may be missing structure in our lives. When we lack structure, we may feel that life is chaotic and unpredictable. If we feel this way, our recovery may take a backseat, as we are merely trying to navigate through the chaos of our daily lives. We may feel that we have little control over our daily lives if we are not adhering to a structure or a routine. Many recovery treatment programs and sober living homes can help you build a routine outside of treatment. These treatment programs often have structured activities and expectations to help get you on the right path and regain control of your day.
Routines: We Are Creatures of Habit
Most of us follow some sort of habitual routine. Human beings tend to be “creatures of habit.” Our bodies function optimally when we fall asleep and wake up around the same time each day. We generally eat three meals a day, and many of us have days that are structured similarly by going to work. Establishing routines help us to accomplish our daily tasks with less resistance. When we have a routine, we know what to expect each day and feel more in control of our lives. We can benefit from re-examining our daily structure every once in a while to form healthier and more efficient daily routines. We can learn how to be more proactive in our planning and scheduling; this enables us to find more time for fulfilling activities. Some of our addictive behaviors may be triggered by boredom; structure helps us to stay focused and occupied.
Scheduling for Mental Health and Stability
We may fantasize about having no obligations: free days with no expectations or things to do; days with no schedule to maintain, where we can do as we please. While this may be a pleasant thought when we feel overwhelmed, creating a schedule can help us find the structure we need to overcome the chaos in our lives. When we are in a daily routine of only going to work, coming home to watch TV, and then going to bed, we get lost in the humdrum of our lives. We may feel unfulfilled, yet feel unable to make any changes. Creating a schedule can help you build a healthy lifestyle for recovery. Some of our unhealthy habits occur due to a lack of preparedness to fulfill some of our basic needs.
Some of us may want to eat healthier meals, yet we feel like we do not have the time to prepare meals. We then microwave frozen foods or eat fast food, because we need to eat. We then feel like eating healthy is impossible. If we create a schedule to structure our eating habits, we can replace our unhealthy habits with healthy ones. We can start by scheduling a specific day of the week and a time to go grocery shopping. We can start planning meals weekly or by setting time aside to learn healthy recipes. Once we build these activities into our routine, we will be less tempted to make unhealthy choices at the last minute.
What about planning for fun? Some of us who are new to recovery, may resort to our addictive behaviors out of boredom. We may engage in unhealthy behaviors when we have nothing else planned during our free time. Structuring fun and fulfilling activities into our day can help us resist the temptation to go to the bar or to visit old friends, who trigger our old behaviors. By allocating time to engage in a new hobby or spending time with healthy people, we can curb our temptations to make unhealthy choices out of boredom or loneliness.
Structure for Recovery
Many recovery treatment programs may require that you schedule your day around activities and sessions conducive to your wellness. Often, long-term treatment programs and sober living programs have expectations that you maintain a routine during your stay. Having a structure will hold you accountable for participating in your recovery, and will make keeping appointments easier for you. By building a healthy and structured daily routine, you will find that the pathway to wellness will become easier. By having structure, you are being proactive and getting out ahead of your triggers before letting your day control you. By planning your daily routine, you are taking charge of your life and are taking a healthy step on the pathway to recovery.
Many recovery programs and sober living homes have a daily structure, which you will be expected to adapt to. While this structure may feel restricting as you first engage in the program, you will likely find that having structure rids you of the uncertainty and anxiety that affects your day-to-day life. Structure is one of the key aspects of recovery. Learning to build a routine is a healthy habit that will help you minimize your temptations to engage in addictive behaviors. Camelback Recovery emphasizes building a routine and having structure during our recovery treatment program. We can teach you how to build a routine and alleviate the feeling of a chaotic lifestyle. Call us at (602) 466-9880 to get started with your recovery today.